Things are heating up in the battlefield of public opinion over Apple‘s European tax arrangements. After the EC ruling that Apple owes $13.5 billion in back taxes to Ireland, the company published an open letter saying the EC was wrong and that Apple believes Apple paid enough taxes. Next came Tim Cook calling the ruling “political crap”—despite legal experts ripping Apple’s stance apart.
Now come these strong comments from Eurofinance head Jeroen Dijsselbloem that pinpoint what many of Apple’s tax arrangement detractors say is the crux of the matter: that Apple doesn’t grasp the moral argument for super rich companies paying their fair share of taxes, reports the Wall Street Journal:
“The Apple response shows that they don’t grasp what’s going on in society and they do not grasp what’s going on in the public debate,” Mr. Dijsselbloem, president of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, said on the sidelines of the Ambrosetti forum of business leaders in Italy. “This is a very strong moral issue, and large companies, even if they’re this large, can’t say ‘this is not about us, there’s no problem here.’ American companies or any company that uses all these different tax plans and at the end of the day pays no tax, that’s not fair.”
Though the framing of the arguments on each side seem to be taking shape, with both Apple and Ireland appealing the ruling, it will be years until we see whether Apple or the European Commission come out on top.